Mask mandate bill in South Dakota Legislature might not get far

January 29, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – Republicans who control the South Dakota Legislature are shrugging off a Democratic proposal for a statewide mask requirement to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

GOP members said after the bill was introduced Thursday that they would rather stay the course and allow people to decide for themselves whether to wear face coverings in public.

Republican Rep. Kent Peterson, the House majority leader, says he doesn’t favor a mandate and doesn’t think the bill will get out of the House.

Top Republicans have praised Gov. Kristi Noem’s approach of relying on personal responsibility to stop infections from spreading.

Democrats say the bill is similar to a Sioux Falls ordinance that preceded the city’s sharp decline in positive cases and hospitalizations.